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Moral Inquiries on the Situation of Man and of Brutes (Mellen Animal Rights Library)

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ISBN-13: 978-0773487222
ISBN-10: 0773487220
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Product Details

  • Series: Mellen Animal Rights Library (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Edwin Mellen Pr (August 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0773487220
  • ISBN-13: 978-0773487222
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,994,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Lewis Gomertz (1776-1861) was a cofounder of the RSPCA in the UK and served as its secretary for six years. He was the only cofounder who was a vegan (not that the term existed then), but his views opposing animal exploitation ostracized him from his fellow RSPCA leaders. After resigning from the organization, he founded The Animals’ Friend Society and was the editor of its journal, The Animals’ Friend, which seems to be the world’s first-ever animal protection periodical. The Society went defunct after his death.

This book (published in 1824), lays out his very unconventionally forward-thinking views on the human-animal relationship, as well as on the rights of women (detailing their unjust treatment in the British legal system), prisoners (a whole chapter on their suffering), and other exploited groups. This 1992 edition has a preface from Peter Singer, in which Singer notes that he read Gompertz’ work while researching and writing Animal Liberation.

Gompertz is humble throughout the book, joking that he knows he may have no readers, and repeatedly acknowledging his own imperfections as they relate to the values he’s espousing. The theme of imperfection is woven throughout.

A central claim: “The dreadful situation of brute creation, particular of those which have been domesticated, claims our strictest attention.” (22)

Conclusion: “Cruelty is still cruelty. It matters not whether the victim be furnished with two legs or with four, with wings, with fins, or with arms; where there is sensation, there is subject for cruelty.”
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